Sunday, 16 October 2011

For Fox Sake!

The biggest political news story of the week was the resignation of Defence Secretary Liam Fox, whose position had become untenable following disclosures that his friend Adam Werritty attended numerous meetings with Fox, despite not having any security clearance or an official government position.

Fox, afflicted by the hubristic malaise typical of the political classes, tried to cling on to his position seemingly oblivious to the impropriety of his actions. It proves that David Cameron, when in Opposition, was correct to warn of the danger of the influence of lobbyists - leaving aside the hypocrisy of his failure to address the problem once elected to office.

There is, however, an unpleasant undercurrent to this story. Newspapers have published photographs of Werritty as Fox’s best man at his wedding. Other pictures show Werritty dressing similarly to Fox. The media has implied, and we have inferred, that there is more to their relationship than mere friendship. There is no evidence for this which, in any event, is totally irrelevant when compared to the more serious failings by Fox in the conduct of his ministerial duties.

Even if the innuendo was founded, it would not be the first time that a Conservative MP has married in order to disguise his sexuality; but in the 21st Century most electors cast their vote according to the perceived ability of the candidates rather than who they might be shagging.

It is rumoured that Mike Freer MP, who failed to be elected in Harrow West in 2005, fell out with the local Conservative Association over claims that he had tried to hide his sexuality from them. Don’t Call Me Dave finds this story hard to believe. Freer has always been open about his sexuality and, indeed, his Civil Partnership ceremony was held in the most public of venues - Barnet Town Hall.

In 2010 Freer was elected as MP for Finchley & Golders Green - a constituency in which the orthodox Jewish community makes up a significant part of the electorate. It is often claimed that people with deeply held religious convictions consider homosexuality to be a sin (Leviticus 20:13 and all that). However, it is self evident from Freer’s election that voters have more important things to worry about.

LibDem MP David Laws resigned as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2010 after less than three weeks in office because he tried to cover up aspects of his personal life. Liam Fox was forced to resign because he too tried to cover up aspects of a personal friendship. MPs wishing to hold on to their jobs should take a leaf from Mike Freer’s book.


baarnett said...

I agree there has been an undercurrent in the press, about 'relationships', and that is to be deplored.

However, that subject has never been the prominent one in this case, except among a few lazy journalists.

The main issue is the moral corruption engendered by lobbyists, which can only be deminished by a great deal more transparency, than the Westminser village currently shows.

(Oh you must agree, DCMD. Tell you what, let me take you to lunch, and we can discuss it. I know a good place in Mayfair. I'll send round a taxi.)

Don't Call Me Dave said...

The influence of lobbyists is not a new phenomenon and in a democratic society, individuals and corporations should be allowed to make representations to MPs to plead their case over a specific issue. But there should be equal access to all. The problem is that MPs of all political colours have been pimping themselves to the highest bidder. This has to stop.

In the case of Liam Fox, a question which needs to be answered is why civil servants didn’t blow the whistle on the arrangement? They cannot have failed to have notice what was going on.